China approves graphite exports under optimized control measures: MOFCOM

2023-12-15 09:04:52Global Times Editor : Li Yan ECNS App Download

China's Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) has approved several graphite export applications since the optimized export controls took effect on December 1, the ministry said on Thursday.

Experts said China's export control rules on certain graphite items are restrained and professional, and demonstrate that the optimized export approval mechanism has entered operation.

Since the controls took effect, the MOFCOM has received multiple export applications from Chinese enterprises, and some have been approved in line with the rules, MOFCOM spokesperson Shu Jueting said on Thursday, adding that the ministry will further consider enterprises' applications and make decisions.

China in October announced plans to optimize export controls on some categories of graphite, a key material in electric vehicle batteries, in a move aimed at safeguarding China's national security and interests.

"In 2022, global graphite output stood at 1.3 million tons, about 850,000 tons of which were from China, accounting for 65 percent of global volume," Chen Jing, vice president of the Technology and Strategy Research Institute, told the Global Times on Thursday, citing data from Mineral Commodity Summaries 2023 published by the U.S. Geological Survey.

Due to China's critical role in the global graphite supply chain, the export control measures received immediate attention abroad.

For instance, a Nikkei Asia report said on November 30 that Japanese companies, including Mitsubishi Chemical and Panasonic, which have relied on critical battery and semiconductor materials made in China, are moving to "broaden their sources."

Shu emphasized in October that the measure does not target any specific country or region. Chen also noted that controls were only implemented on highly sensitive graphite items used in the military sector, and exports of regular graphite items used in steel, metallurgy and chemical engineering remained normal.

Aside from graphite, China placed export controls on gallium and germanium related items, effective from August 1, 2023, which were also in line with international norms and were not targeted at any specific country.

A number of applications to export gallium and germanium products in line with China's regulations have been approved, and the exporters have obtained export licenses, the MOFCOM told a press conference in September.

"China's optimized export controls on multiple key materials didn't disrupt global industry chains, but called on the international market to protect key natural resources and fulfill China's commitment to stabilizing global supply chains," Chen said.

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